Region's MP voice concerns after Brexit amendments shunned by Government
North East MPs have voiced disappointment over the Government's decision not to take on amendments to the Brexit bill by peers.
But they have pledged to do what they can to ensure the region gets the best out of the deal as talks approach.
Parliament has cleared the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to decide when to start the formal two-year discussions by removing amendments made by peers to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
Sunderland Central’s Labour MP Julie Elliott has insisted the priority now is to get the best deal for the city in any Brexit negotiations.
She said: “I am disappointed that the Government did not adopt the amendments but we must now look forward.
“Article 50 will be triggered this month and the real negotiations, which will last for two years, will begin.
“I will fight for the best possible deal for Sunderland every step of the way.”
South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck has also hit out at the Conservative Government's decision not to take on board the changes.
She said: "It is deeply disappointing that the Prime Minister chose to ignore Labour’s amendments last night, and that so few Conservative MPs were willing to do the right thing.
"It is clear she is listening to no one and is forging ahead without any assurances for the public about what would happen if she does not reach a deal.
"I accept and respect the result of the referendum on the UK's membership of the EU and I therefore voted for this Bill at the previous vote in the House of Commons but I do not believe the Government should be given a blank cheque for the high risk approach it has chosen to take.
"Labour’s amendments would not have obfuscated triggering Article 50 but put in safeguards for parliament to protect jobs, living standards and worker’s rights.
"Labour’s amendments would have ensured there is a meaningful vote on the Article 50 deal – including, crucially, if the Prime Minister fails to reach an agreement and would have given much needed certainty for the 3million EU nationals living in the UK who are vital for our public services."
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned Britain will pay the price over decades if the Government makes
the wrong decisions over the EU withdrawal.
He said: “The passing into law of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act marks a historic step – later this month, the triggering of Article 50, a process that will shape this country’s future.
“There is no doubt that if the wrong decisions are made, we will pay the price for decades to come.
“So now, more than ever, Britain needs an inclusive Government that listens and acts accordingly.
“However, all the signs are that we have a complacent Government – complacent with our economy, complacent with people’s rights, and complacent about the future of this country.”
Mr Corbyn pressed Mrs May to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK as soon as possible.
Mrs May reiterated her desire to deal with the future of EU nationals at an “early stage” in Brexit talks, adding UK expats in member states also need to be considered.
And she indicated the passing of the Bill enabling her to trigger Article 50 would send a signal around Europe that Britain means business.
She said: “I think we can be reassured that the vote that took place in this House and the House of Lords, and the passing of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill into royal assent, will give a very clear message to everybody in Europe that we mean business.”